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Age of Acquisition Effects

Age of acquisition (AoA) effects in language development—better language learning outcomes for individuals who begin learning a language in childhood rather than adulthood—have long been noted by scholars and laypeople alike. Importantly, the effect only describes long-term learning outcomes, not initial learning, where in childhood is often worse. AoA effects occur in both first (L1) and second (L2) language learning but may not extend to foreign language acquisition (acquisition of a language in a more constructed environment like a classroom and unsupported by the use of the language in the home or wider community). AoA effects are most apparent in how a speaker sounds, but they are not restricted to speech production nor to the phonology (or sound system) of the language.

AoA effects are also ...

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